PANAJI: Every cashew season, the excise department struggles to auction cashew zones and industry stakeholders blame lessened competition in feni distillation, besides uncertainties linked to cashew yield and high labour cost. On an average 250-300 zones remain without being taken, despite bids being invited through open tenders. Tenders are opened once the auction process is closed.
Excise commissioner Menino D'Souza said they are working to find out ways to help the cashew feni trade and boost competition. In this regard, the department has got the Goa University on board to draft a feni policy.
"We want to see that all linked to the trade get their due, whether small-time juice extractors or distillers, or those traditionally into the business. And that they get the right value for their product," said D'Souza.
President, Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association, Gurudatta Bhakta said one of the reasons for the poor response for cashew zone auctioning is the insecurity factor as there is always the danger of crop failure.
"Every two-three years cashew there is always the possibility of yield dropping, though this season, the crop has been satisfactory. A person investing in zones has to think twice before buying it during the auction," said Bhakta and added that he has suggested to the excise department that auctioning be carried out every five years instead of annually.